Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Evangelizers Post: 10 Commandments in the Modern World Part 1 – YOU SHALL HAVE NO GODS BEFORE ME

I have a new article up at  

Many years ago I wrote an article here for New Evangelizers called “Disclaimers When Talking About Sin.” That article was based on the preparation I do in class before we go into the 10 Commandments. However I came to the realization that with that article I did the preparation without the content.

This article will be the first in a series that will act as in depth reflection of how the 10 Commandments given to Moses and the Hebrews thousands of years ago apply to our modern lives. Of course there will always be more insight that can be mined from these Commandments than what we can discuss in a single article or even a series of articles. But we will use these as starting points to reflect upon how well we measure up under God’s Law.

As you may know, there are two different listing of the 10 Commandments. The first can be found in Exodus 10:1-17 and another found in Deuteronomy 5:4-21. While they cover the same material, they order them and combine them a little differently. In Exodus, the 1st Commandment is to place no gods before God and the 2nd forbids the creation of “graven images.” Also in Exodus, the final commandment admonishes to covet your neighbors wife and goods. The list of Commandments in Deuteronomy combines the first two in Exodus into one Commandment and splits the last Commandment in Exodus into two separate ones.

Why does this matter? It is important for purely referential reasons. Most Catholics learned the list of Commandments that were based on Deuteronomy while most Protestants use the listing from Exodus. So when we reference the “Seventh Commandment,” Catholics will think of “You Shall Not Steal” and Protestants will think of “You Shall Not Commit Adultery.”

We, of course, will use the traditionally Catholic ordering of the Commandments.

The first Commandment is actually the most important of all the Commandments. And yet how often do we Catholics confess sinning against the first Commandment?

Why is it the most important? Because every sin is a sin against the first Commandment. It is the description of a perfect human life. When it says “You shall have no gods before me,” it is not primarily speaking to us modern Christians about avoiding worshiping Zeus, Ra, or Baal. Instead, if you were to the Commandment into the form of a question it would be:

Is God first in my life?

You can read the entire article here.

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